Architect Jonathan Heilman’s directive was to build a house that would be “at one with the desert.” The end result is a home that resembles a desert oasis. Tucked between two Sonoran hilltops, its breathtaking views are tempered by shady terraces and a shimmering negative-edge pool that seems to disappear into the skyline.
In some parts of the 7,450-square-foot home, it’s difficult to tell where house stops and desert begins. Floor-to-ceiling glass leads to a shaded terrace, which then progresses onto an open pool deck. Other glass walls wrap around atriums or jut, at angles, onto terraces. Materials used both inside and outside echo the organic grays and tans of desert sand and rock.
The home is organized into three distinct and separate realms. The living area, kitchen, and media room sit one floor above ground level, perched on the terrain like a glass pavilion. These transparent spaces are offset by a more fortress-like sleeping wing carved into the hillside, which becomes yang to the living area’s yin. The third realm is a detached guest house in back containing a small living area and bedroom.
Unifying these complementary building forms is the gallery bridge—a distinctive feature from inside the house, as well as for motorists climbing the 90-foot rise over the 13-acre site. With its array of reflective glass, the bridge mirrors the mountains in the distance and marks the dividing line between public and private spaces. It also spans the driveway, creating an ethereal portal into a motor court tucked behind the house.
Category: Custom home, 6,000 square feet or more
Entrant/Architect: Allen + Philp Architects/Interiors, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Builder: Linthicum Corp., Scottsdale
Interior designer: David Michael Miller Associates, Scottsdale
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Phoenix, AZ.